Ships and boats

From the story of the world's only surviving tea clipper, Cutty Sark, and the voyages of discovery made by Captain Cook's sloop HMS Resolution, to the evolution of shipbuilding and design through the ages, we delve into the fascinating history of ships and boats.

Iron ship fitting at the Royal Dockyard, Woolwich.jpg

England’s dockyards were self-contained communities of highly skilled craftsmen. 

The San José and the Santissima Trinidad were 18th century Spanish warships. Both ships were involved in sea battles involving Nelson.

'Atalanta', 16 guns D4085-1_slider.JPG

During the 19th century scale models of ships were made less frequently, replaced with more detailed ship plans.

Iron ship fitting at the Royal Dockyard, Woolwich.jpg

The first Royal dockyard was constructed during the reign of King Henry VII, when trade between continents was burgeoning. 


The introduction of steam power in the 19th century revolutionised the shipping industry and made Britain a world-leader in shipbuilding.

Contemporary skeleton model of a 50-gun small two-decker, circa 1691 D4066-5_slider.JPG

The Royal Navy ship models from the 17th to 19th centuries are of immense historical value. They are unique records of the development of warship design.


The East India Company employed Asian seamen known as 'Lascars' in the 17th century, who served on European ships.


Every maritime nation can tell of captains who stayed with their ships until the last moment, and sometimes beyond.

Ark Royal' (1587).jpg

The Royal Navy's ship HMS Ark Royal is the fifth by that name to have served the Crown.

The 'Wolf' (1826), or (1814), brig of war, late of the Royal Navy, making signal and laying to, for a pilot off Dover PU6134_slider.JPG

During the 17th to 19th centuries, the British Royal Navy had a number of unrated vessels under the command of lieutenants and commanders.